SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (FOX 11 / AP) - Representatives of the federal and local agencies leading the investigation into the San Bernardino massacre held a news conference at the San Bernardino Police Department today to provide updates on the probe into what President Barack Obama says was act of terrorism designed to kill the innocent.
The news conference will focus on reporting the current status of the case, providing information for the public and answering reporters' questions, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. It comes at a time when federal
authorities are scrutinizing the backgrounds of the assailants in the San Bernardino shootings to determine how they became radicalized and if they received outside funds to finance the deadliest terror strike on American soil
At a 7:30 a.m. news conference, San Bernardino County officials thanked the first responders to the shooting scene and vowed to make every effort return to normal activities, with most county offices reopening today. However, environmental health employees, the targets of the rampage, will remain off for another week. Officials also said employees would benefit from added security and access to counseling.
On Saturday, FBI agents with a search warrant raided the Riverside home of Enrique Marquez, a former neighbor of Syed Farook, one of the shooters in Wednesday's deadly San Bernardino rampage, multiple sources said.
Federal agents entered the Tomlinson Avenue home just after 1 a.m., Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. Eimiller declined to comment on the reason for the raid at the residence, reported to be next door to where Farook once lived.
Media reports said Marquez was believed to have purchased two rifles used in Wednesday's attack, which killed 14 people and wounded 21, but that he is not a suspect in the massacre.
The Joint Terrorism Task Force has now taken the lead in the investigation into the shooting at the Inland Regional Center. President Barack Obama said Sunday night that the attack had been "an act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people."
The attack was carried out by Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, who had been married two years and had a 6-month-old daughter, authorities said. Intelligence sources said Malik posted a statement of
allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi just before the killing began, and an ISIS online radio broadcast said Farook and Malik were ISIS supporters.
"Two followers of Islamic State attacked several days ago a center in San Bernardino," media reports quoted the ISIS broadcast as saying. ISIS did not directly take responsibility for the attack, but praised Farook and Malik
The couple was killed in a gunbattle with police about seven hours after the initial shooting at the Inland Regional Center, which provides treatment for people with developmental disabilities. Investigators found evidence Farook
and Malik destroyed their mobile phones the day before the shootings.
Family members have said they had not seen any evidence the U.S.-born Farook, nor his Pakistani wife, had been "radicalized." American investigators are looking into whether Malik radicalized Farook.
In his nationally broadcast speech Sunday night, Obama sought to reassure the nation, insisting "we will prevail."
The victims who died Wednesday were Sierra Clayborn of Moreno Valley, 27; Aurora Godoy of San Jacinto, 26; Damian Meins of Riverside, 58; Robert Adams of Yucaipa, 40; Isaac Amanios of Fontana, 60; Bennetta Bet-Badal of Rialto, 46; Harry Bowman of Upland, 46; Juan Espinoza of Highland, 50; Shannon Johnson of Los Angeles, 45; Larry Kaufman of Rialto, 42; Tin Nguyen of Santa Ana, 31; Nicholas Thalasinos of Colton, 52; Yvette Velasco of Fontana, 27; and Michael Wetzel of Lake Arrowhead, 37.
On Wednesday morning, Farook left the couple's infant daughter with his mother, claiming he was taking his wife to a doctor's visit and didn't want to bring the baby along, according to Hussam Ayloush, the executive director of
the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Los Angeles (CAIR-LA).
Farook was a five-year employee of the San Bernardino County public health agency, which was holding a holiday party when the shooting erupted. The Los Angeles Times reported that Farook traveled to Saudi Arabia last year and spent nine days there before returning with a new wife he met online, Malik, who was originally from Pakistan. The Pakistani government said over the weekend it is investigating local aspects of the attack.
The Times and other media outlets, citing a senior government official who spoke on condition of anonymity, have reported that Farook was in contact with a number of extremists and at least one person being monitored by federal officials, a Pakistani named Roshan Zamir Abbassi, who is an assistant Imam in San Bernardino, where Farook worshipped. But Abassi told The Times he barely knew Farook and only exchanged occasional hellos and goodbyes.